The following story is truly amazing! It's like something you'd watch in a heart-pounding drama, but never want to experience in real life. Well, this couple — Dr. Jim & Debby Pearson — did, not only living through this near fatal accident, but coming out of it with a new perspective on life that truly inspires others.
"Debby and I want to thank everyone for the tremendous outpouring of love and concern for us after our accident on 1/10/09... It was really a miracle of God's mercy that we survived and that Debby has recovered so quickly from her near drowning.
Telling this story so many times the last 4 days has been emotionally draining but many want to know the details. Here they are and reflections on things we have learned.
On Saturday afternoon, after spending the morning working with Zack, Josh and Kaedon, Debby and I headed to our cabin at Watauga Lake to check on things. We strapped our two Yorkshire Terriers (Duncan and McDuff) in their carrying case and placed our two birds (Bertie and Clover) into the car and took off to the lake. I was getting sleepy and almost pulled over about a mile from the cabin but 'thought I could make it.' It was cold and drizzling and about a hundred yards from the cabin, I dozed off, ran off the left side of the road and was awakened by Debby's cry. It was too late!! I stuck a power pole; the car spun around backwards and then plunged down a 150 foot bank. We flipped over several times, knocked down another utility pole and ended up submerged in the lake.
We were both disoriented but still alive. Debby immediately began breathing in water. She was able to loosen her seat belt before she became unconscious. There was a small air pocket on my side of the car and I was able to take a breath, loosen my seatbelt and then God miraculously helped me escape from the car and pull Debby out. She was probably underwater for about 2 minutes and when she came out she was totally unresponsive, pale, her eyes fixed open and I really thought she was dead. After some rescue breaths, pulling her to shore and more rescue breaths God spared her life and she began breathing again. After she woke up I went back and tried to rescue our pets but was not able to free them due to the frigid water temperatures causing numbness of my hands so that they would 'no longer work.'
The longest 30 minutes of our lives was spent getting back up to the road and to our cabin. Debby was hypothermic and having a lot of trouble breathing from water aspiration into her lungs. We were able to get into the basement [the keys to the cabin were in the submerged car] where there was a phone, heater and some towels. After calling Zack and 911, help arrived about 30 minutes later.
Debby spent the night in the hospital on oxygen but did not have to be intubated. By the next day her lungs were much better and miraculously neither one of us had any serious injuries except for some bruises, muscle soreness, and one superficial laceration.
We are now home and recovering well physically, but still having a difficult time over losing 4 pets. I'm especially grateful knowing I could have lost so much more. God spared Debby's life (and mine) for which I will always be grateful!!
Some lessons learned:
- Always wear your seatbelts — had we not had them on, we most likely would have been thrown from the car and seriously injured or killed.
- If you get sleepy, pull over right then! You may not make it (I didn't!!)
- Enjoy all the precious things God has given us in life to enjoy (puppies, birds, etc.) They can be gone in a few seconds.
- Most important — When you have just taken a 150 foot plunge into an ice cold lake and you know you have but a few seconds to live, nothing you have (money, possessions, titles, 401Ks, etc.) can save you. Only our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ can do that. We all have a natural fear of death but we know that unless the Lord returns first, we will all have to take that step sooner or later. Saturday just wasn't our day but being that close has a way of getting your attention! We're glad we didn't have to go without saying bye to our family. Having our family separated would have been heartbreaking, but as Christians going to be with the Lord together would be unimaginable joy.
The day after we got home Debby home from the hospital we got our mail and received the January 2009 edition of Bible Prophecy Insights entitled 'What Happens When You Die?' I had read the main article by Dr. David Reagan of Lamb and Lion Ministries before, but this time I read it with renewed interest. It's the best Biblical summary of what the Christian's hope is that I have ever seen.
Debby and I don't know why God chose to spare us but we appreciate more that each day and our possessions are gifts to use wisely. We still grieve over the loss of 4 small 'friends' that He allowed us to enjoy for the past few years but we pray some good may come out of this tragedy. For us the greatest loss would be that anyone that reads an account of this 'miracle' would not know Jesus Christ as His Lord and Savior. That is our prayer for all of you and we thank God for each of you in our prayers."
Stories like these sure help demonstrate the Christian perspective on death, especially when one narrowly escapes death and does not die, don't they? I hope this story and the latest Bible Prophecy Insights on "What Happens When You Die?" are a blessing to you as well. Thank you, Jim and Debbie, for sharing!